WHY IS THIS ISSUE IMPORTANT?
Across the country 1 in 7 college students have barriers preventing them from getting the adequate nutrition necessary to succeed in school and in their future. In California, that number is 1 in 3 students. Some students even experience homelessness and have limited resources to improve this circumstance. Swipe Out Hunger is committed to supporting the wellbeing of these students during a very critical time.
WHY DO STUDENTS EXPERIENCE FOOD INSECURITY?
There are various reasons why students experience hunger. Below are some factors that contribute to food insecurity.
- Parents of students attending higher education can no longer contribute financially due to the economic downturn.
- Undergraduate financial aid loans do not cover tuition or living expenses.
- Graduate students are unable to attain enough financial aid, grants, or TA-ship
- Students cannot find employment.
- If students do have employment, they may be waiting on their next paycheck to be able to afford expenses.
- Students commute to campus and cannot afford lunch during the day.
- Some students are parents and have to support their partner or child.
- Students have emergency medical costs.
WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR UNIVERSITIES TO PROVIDE SUPPORTIVE SERVICES?
People often associate universities with thriving students and resource abundance. This assumption is outdated and quite the opposite is happening. In a survey of 3,800 students at 34 community and 4-year colleges across 12 states – the broadest sample to date – the authors found that 48% experienced food insecurity the previous month and 22% of respondents had the very lowest levels of food insecurity. Of these food insecure students, 64% also experienced housing insecurity, and 32% reported hunger and housing problems impacted their education. Food insecurity even affected students who had a job and/or other financial help. Furthermore, being enrolled in a meal plan with a campus dining hall did not eliminate the threat of food insecurity. Among the respondents from four-year colleges, 43% of meal plan enrollees still experienced food insecurity.
The impacts of hunger on students are drastic. Hunger or housing problems caused 53% of respondents to miss a class, 54% to miss a study session, 37% to miss a club meeting, 55% to opt not to join an extracurricular activity, 55% to not buy a required textbook, 25% to drop a class, and 81% to not perform as well academically as they otherwise would have.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?
Below are some articles and reports about campus hunger.